We’ve been a little quiet posting to our news page lately. Rest assured, it has been anything but quiet in the background! Trials, trips away, and some brand-new venues launching hubs and classes this term – all in the space of a few weeks! What a busy and massively exciting time for us. And…there’s a very special netballer joining us for some of our half-term classes, too… (One guess who it is!)
Starting with trials, though, and I have to say how completely blown away I felt this year. Some of the talent the selectors and I were privy to was remarkable; so much so, we’re pleased to have taken many more athletes onto our Elite and Academy programmes this season than originally planned (final squads will be posted on our website soon) – it’s great for the athletes and great for our sport. Our programme is designed not only to assist athletes with their netball but to improve overall fitness, strength and conditioning, giving them opportunities way beyond our game alone. With Leeds Rhinos Netball now responsible for delivering the pathway for Yorkshire, we are confident in helping those prepared to put in the hard yards now to progress through to top-level netball. Whilst a handful of our U19 and U17 trialists were unlucky not to progress through from final screening, each has been provided with formal feedback they can use to re-assess their game and make improvements for club or next year’s trials with Rhinos.
Onto our Hub programme next, where we had big plans this year to expand further across Yorkshire to offer even more U15/U13 athletes access to high-quality netball training on a weekly basis. Due to popularity and it’s being something of a flagship, the Leeds Hub is trial-based and it was amazing to see almost everyone in our initial round successful in gaining a place. Athletes can still try out so if you’re interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your trial session. Bishop Burton, another long-established Hub, started as it left off last term – very busy!! – and our three new Hubs in Bradford, Doncaster and Wakefield are all off to a flying start with numbers growing weekly. You can sign up to these four Hubs at any time with places currently available at each one. Our Hayfield School (Doncaster) Hub is offering two FREE taster sessions for all new players and you will not want to miss this Friday’s session, 19th October, as we have a very special guest coach, England Roses and international league player, Natalie Haythornthwaite! It’s her first in a number of Rhinos sessions this Autumn and will be an absolute cracker with Nat on the court! There’s no need to book ahead of Friday’s session, just come along. See venue details and times for all of our Hubs, including Doncaster, online here
Mini Netball has also recommenced and kicked off early September with a brand-new class at Woodhouse Grove School. We’ve had some great feedback from our coach and our players to say this has been lots of fun and we already have people asking to sign up for block 2 which starts after the half-term break! Our regular sessions at Beckett are also up and running again, where we have restructured our age groupings this term to accommodate even more players. If you’re unsure whether Mini Netball will suit your child, our classes are aimed at young people yet to experience netball in primary school, or those who have and simply want to play more in a fun and inclusive environment. Take a look at our website for more details; better still, come along for a taster session before signing up and see how much fun it can be!
Speaking of half-term, we’ve some amazing options at both ends of the netball scale. First, our Fun Camp for our 8-14year olds who want to spend their break from school on court (and who would blame them?!). What’s extra special this time is having the Roses’ Haythornthwaite on hand at Wednesday’s session to inspire our players with her skills and stories from playing netball the world-over. Book for four days to get the most out of the camp AND gain a great deal! Sessions run from 10am-3pm and all your child needs is a packed lunch, drinks and runners. Too easy! Come Friday, it’s no rest for Natalie as she runs our Masterclass for those who are completely netball-focused. 13-16year olds already playing netball at club level and looking for a day’s valuable training would do great to book on – and do so now as spaces are filling fast! We’ve also two other day camp options the following week at Gateways – one a Fun Camp, the second for Minis. In short, we have netball for all abilities and ages this half-term!
Back at HQ, it’s been extremely busy for Rhinos Rugby too, with the Foundation scooping a prestigious award at the Rugby League’s annual ‘Man of Steel’ event recently and the women’s team competing in the first ever Grand Final. It’s great to see those in our wider family achieving major milestones and we continue to feel super proud to stand beside them as Rhinos.
I could speak at length about my recent trip to Australia with Leeds Athletic Netball Club – perhaps its best saved for its own update another time! What I will mention here is the positivity surrounding netball in Oz. The community engagement from schools and clubs, plus the support they receive at games whether they’re grassroots or performance, is really impressive. No wonder many of our own players – including the likes of Natalie – aspire to play down under. The best place to start your journey is at home, of course. So, if you’re already playing then well done to you because you’re on your way. For those still to pick up a netball for the very first time, why not do so this half-term at one of our sessions and see how much fun it can be? You’ll find everything you need to know regarding our holiday classes online here!
Director of Netball